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I have not had a whole lot of luck growing sunflowers which is pretty frustrating considering just about everyone else can grow these flowers like weeds. For whatever reason, they have been a gardening challenge – either birds or other critters have eaten the seeds before they could germinate or the plants didn’t seem to thrive and never flowered. This year, however, I have sunflowers! Not a lot, just three plants but they are beautiful.

Here are some pictures – seems I’m not the only one that appreciates these beautiful flowers.

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How does your garden grow? This year, I must say I am pretty pleased with my garden. In years past, it has either been too big and gotten out of control by this time of the year or we have been away or busy and it has gotten overgrown and weedy to the point of disgust. This summer we are enjoying being around here and consequently, we have been tackling a lot of yard work. I enjoy popping in my headphones and getting out there and weeding or just sitting down and weeding without the tunes, enjoying the sunshine and the summer breeze that always seems to exist in our neck of the woods.

Here are some garden pictures I’m happy to share with you.

Purple Habanero Peppers

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Pablano Peppers

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Corn – This will be a first, thanks to the generosity of a friend and neighbor who shared his seedlings.

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The Garden looking east

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The Garden looking west

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The veggie ends that I saved are growing nicely. The kitchen window sill is filled with lots of green things which is a welcome sight when you look out the window and realize that nothing green will be growing out there for quite a while yet.

Right now, I have about a dozen scallions in various stages of growth, a bunch of basil and a lovely bok choy. The other day, when I chopped up the last of a stalk of celery for some roasted cauliflower soup, I added that to the dish. I am anxious to see how that works.

While the leeks and scallions by far have the most roots, the bok choy, which has grown beautifully, is only just now starting to sprout a couple roots from its base. The basil is not showing any real root growth yet, but lots of leaves.

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Today was a peppery kind of day. I bought a bushel of sweet peppers at the farmer’s market today and combined it with some other delicious pasilla peppers from Alchemy Gardens. I added to that peppers from my CSA at Evening Song Farm and my own poblano peppers. What does one do with all those peppers?

First, I washed seeded and cut up a bunch to freeze for later in the winter, when we need some homegrown peppers. These will remind us of the warm weather when gardening is but a dream.

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Then I roasted a whole lot of the peppers. Some of them were fixed with garlic and extra virgin olive oil. We will have these with some homemade bread from the farmer’s market for dinner tonight.

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Finally, I took some of the roasted peppers and canned them for use later on, much like you would buy in the store. These will be added to pasta or soup, or some other goodies in the coming weeks.

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Photo Credit: Vermont Farmers Food Center

Photo Credit: Vermont Farmers Food Center

Today at the Farmer’s Market we were just about to walk out the door when I spotted it…the table selling seeds. (Must be my gardener’s instinct). Lots and lots of different kinds of seeds. When I walked over and spoke to the mom that was with the kids at this table I learned a lot and thought that I would share for a very good cause.

The table belongs to a group of Shrewsbury homeschool kids that are conducting a fundraiser for the Vermont Farmers Food Center (a/k/a The Farmer’s Market) selling Fedco seeds. These kids –Silas Hamilton, Seamus and Avery Martin, Cedelle and Emmett Sirjane, and Manolo Zelkin with the help of parents, Licia Gambino Hamilton and Martha Sirjane are hoping to raise $3,500 to donate to the Center.

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Since I’m not writing for the Rutland Express anymore (since they stopped publication) and I miss that ability to connect the cool things and people that I come across with people that might not know about them, I thought that I would post here about this group and their efforts in the hopes that folks in the area who plant their own seeds would take advantage of this fundraiser and help these kids with their goal. These kids are selling a variety of Fedco seeds (over 30 different types) to raise money for the Farmer’s Market to help with the work that remains to be done in and around the building and grounds. The kids have a table at the market and have set up and designed their own website http://seedsworthsowing.webs.com/ and Facebook page where they can be found at Seeds Worth Sowing. They’ve even hand stamped (in multi color, mind you) each and every one of their seed packets. Making a very delightful display as you can see.

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You can purchase your seeds in person at the Farmer’s Market, or you can order them by mail and you can pick up an order farm locally from Pierce’s Store or Mount Holly Library. You can also download an order form while in your pajamas from the comfort of your own living room from their website (for my very lazy friends).  If you mail in your order form, you can pick up your seeds from Pierce’s Store on March 21 from 3-6 p.m. or at the Mount Holly Library on March 24th from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. or at the Rutland Farmer’s Market on March 16th or April 6th from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. For the charge of mailing ($1.95 to $15 = $3.95 shipping fee; $16 & up = $5.95 shipping fee) they will even be happy to mail your seeds to you so you can just walk to the mailbox for your seeds. So, friends of mine that are not in Vermont and want seeds, go to their website, download the form, mail it in with your payment and wait for your seeds to arrive via the postal service from our lovely little state of Vermont.

The group extended its original order deadline to March 31st — so I encourage you to take advantage of getting some good seeds to get that garden started and help out an industrious group of kids with their ambitious (and totally doable) goal of raising $3,500. After all, any of us that shop at the Farmer’s Market will benefit from their hard work in raising these funds.

 

So, I thought that I would take a few pictures of the bok choy recycling project that we have underway. I have about a dozen different bok choy ends in saucer trays on the plant rack. A large percentage of them have sprouted and some have tiny little bok choy plants growing from them as these pictures show. The cut ends also are beginning to sprout roots, so some of the bigger ones should be able to go into dirt in another week or so maybe.

It is pretty darned amazing to watch since it literally happens almost overnight. Hope you enjoy the updated pictures. It is my understanding that you can do this with celery as well, although I have not tried that myself.

 

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Tomatoes are everywhere. I have two bowls of tomatoes from the garden on my counter. It hardly seems that those tiny little plants that go in the ground at the beginning of summer can produce so many tomatoes, but damn if they don’t do it every time. I took a whole bowl of those cherry tomatoes that I picked the day before, washed them, cut them in half, seasoned them with a little salt, some oregano and a couple whole unpeeled garlic cloves and tossed them with some extra virgin olive oil. I put them on a parchment lined pan and into the oven. 220 degrees for about 4 hours.

Oh my goodness! The house smelled delicious.

Here’s one tray down and only…..about a half dozen more to go with this last batch of picked tomatoes anyway.

This batch I put into pint sized mason jars and filled them with olive oil and into the fridge they went (only after I took quite a few for last night’s pasta). I think that I will freeze the other batches in labeled ziploc bags for use at a later date.

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This is what the first tomato from the garden (and from TJ’s biology project plants) looks like.

Isn’t it just beautiful???

While I had the camera out to take the picture of the tomato, I thought I’d take some pictures of the other things happening in the garden.

Tomatillo Flower

and a little tomatillo

Here’s okra flowering

and the little okra

Sometimes, taking your time and really paying attention pays off. You see things that you would normally breeze right over if you were operating at your normal speed. The other day, we were straightening things up on the patio for a party we were having and we went to move my pot of lettuce seedlings. Lo and behold, nestled in between the teeny tiny seedlings was a tiny toad. Seriously while he may look gigantic in this picture the little guy is only about an inch big. He was in the lettuce bed yesterday day and on the patio steps today. While I was watering he was jumping along next to me. I think that I might have made a friend.

Another little treasure I found while I was weeding and watering was a partial light blue robin’s egg. The occupant of this particular egg evidently has literally flown the coup, or at least I hope since the shell was on the ground.

Tim just came home from work (go figure, the youngest is the one with the part time job). He does gardening work for his former 6th grade teacher and loves every minute of it. Jane has shown him how to make wee gardens and Tim brought his home today. Here are the pictures!

The boys all left last night and by now are happily (I hope) sitting around a campfire eating dinner and laughing up a storm. They should have had most of the afternoon on the water since they split the 8 hour drive between last night and this morning.

Tom and I had a fairly productive day running some errands together with breakfast out and then gardening and doing yard work for the rest of the day. I was so busy attacking the weeds in my garden that the time just flew by and I didn’t realize how late it was until I smelled our neighbor’s dinner cooking. My tummy grumbled and we realized when we stopped that it was past 7 p.m.

We’re getting pizza and watching something on the computer… Calm, relaxing evening.

DSCN4430 I remember the anticipation when we first planted this clematis plant in our flower bed here in Vermont. We (or at least, I) anxiously waited for the first bloom that first year. I remember that there was one, perfect, beautiful flower. Now, several years later, the plant is filled with more than a dozen blooms, each more beautiful than the first.

Gardening is patience. It is the ultimate test of one’s ability to watch, watch and see what happens. Sometimes, the results are spectacular and sometimes, they are not so good, and still sometimes, nothing ever comes to fruition.

I inherited my love of gardening from my grandfather, who was to the best of my recollection, an extremely patient man. He coaxed things to grow and he definitely had a green thumb. There are peach trees in my mother’s yard today that he planted from a pit from a fruit he had just finished eating. I remember it. I saw it and the tree that came from it. After more than 30 years, I still remember that and it still amazes me. He did compost before composting was the rage and he grew a backyard full of vegetable plants. He always took the time to carefully tend the plants and the results were, well, always well worth the effort.

I think of the garden as my “space” both physically and mentally. Today, the sun broke through the dark clouds and I felt compelled to spend an hour or so in the garden, planting, tending, remembering.

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I bought these awesome, huge dahlia plants from our local Rutland Farmer’s Market, from a stand whose name presently escapes me. They were quite the bargain at 3 for $8.50 and beat out what was available at one third the size and almost $7 each from the local garden centers.

This afternoon, while in the garden, I went to water my seed trays which are in the coldframe/greenhouse we have in the garden. It was quite warm in there today and the seedling trays were in need of water. As I stepped inside to water them (I cannot stand straight inside of it) I was startled. It evidently was so warm and cozy in there that a snake had taken up residence and scared the wits out of me. My only thought was thankfully this happened when it did and not several minutes earlier, when I was on my hands and knees in there and would have been, more or less, face to face with it. That scenario played out in my head which would have provided Tom and the boys with plenty of good “make fun of Tammy” material. I figured that I would have jumped up, knocked my head on the wood bracing and knocked myself clean away, to be found sometime later by the boys or Tom, unconscious in the cold frame with a snake necklace.

Evilwife on the move

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